Gender Differences Exist In Japanese Parental Leave Periods



In Japan, more fathers than ever before are taking parental leave, but the average length of stay is still quite short, according to a recent survey.

More than 80% of male employees in Japan’s 113 participating companies participated on paternity leave, according to a Kyodo News survey. Nonetheless, the majority (47%) only required one to three months, with 25% requiring less than a month and two weeks. Compared to the noticeably longer breaks taken by female employees—an average of 12–18 months (51%) and 6–12 months (27%—this is negligible.

Related link: Women In Japan Earn Only 70% Of What Men Earn

Respondents who addressed the difficulties faced by female employees following prolonged leaves of absence for childcare purposes outlined a number of obstacles. There were 59% of companies that said it was hard to move up in your job, 30% that said work hours were limited, and 19% that said pay raises were delayed.
Japanese law says that workers can take time off to care for a child for up to two years after the child turns one year old. Since April 2023, companies with more than 1,000 employees have had to report every year on the percentage of male employees who take time off for child care.

Experts underlined the value of paternity leave in helping couples divide up home and child-rearing duties and in creating an atmosphere that encourages women to continue working. Given that Japan is dealing with a dropping birthrate and a diminishing population, this becomes more and more relevant.
Gender issues expert Toshiyuki Tanaka, an associate professor at Otsuma Women’s University, underlined that prolonged absences from work have an impact on women’s careers. It is ideal for parents to take their leaves in a way that ensures more people than just women take the lengthier ones.

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